02:45 PM

Symantec Norton Everywhere Aims Beyond PCs

Software aims to secure smartphones, handheld, and consumer devices with Internet connectivity.

Symantec Thursday announced its new Norton Everywhere initiative to extend security, backup, and infrastructure-related software beyond PCs to a variety of consumer devices, from iPhones and Android devices to media hubs.

“We are entering a new era where non-PC devices are exploding in numbers, which means more opportunity for cybercriminals,” said Janice Chaffin, president of Symantec’s consumer business unit, in a statement. “It’s becoming more and more critical for consumer to be protected beyond their PCs.”

Already, according to IDC, there are more than 10 billion non-PC devices with Internet connectivity at large. It expects that number to grow to nearly 20 billion by 2014. Furthermore, many of those devices lack any built-in security.

On the smartphone front, then, Symantec expects to release a beta version of Norton Smartphone Security for Android devices next month. The software will allow users to remote-wipe their devices -- via text message -- and also add anti-malware software, plus the ability to block repeat nuisance callers.

From a storage standpoint, Norton Connect Beta, a free application now available for the iPhone, iPad or Android devices, can access any files archived using Norton Online Backup or Norton 360.

Norton DNS, meanwhile, will add an extra security layer to browsing the Web, through anti-phishing, anti-malware and anti-spyware tools, as well as website filtering. “Just as people associate Norton security products with scanning every file that comes into a system, with Norton DNS, every time a user navigates to a URL, it will be verified by Norton,” said Symantec in a statement.

Starting next month, the company said consumers can set their home routers' DNS settings to use the free service, or download an Android application to protect their Internet surfing when using a Wi-Fi connection.

Finally, for devices running on embedded chips, Norton for Smart Devices -- which would be built-in to devices by their manufacturers -- can secure non-PC devices that connect to the Internet, such as televisions, media hubs, Blu-ray players, smartphones, and even home security systems.

The goal is to allow for secure updates of a device’s firmware, operating system or applications, facilitate remote support, and to provide these devices with access to secure online storage, for example to enable manufacturers to maintain a secure online backup of a user’s device settings or configuration.

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